Yesterday the bi-annual Oxford Internet Survey was released, which investigates The Internet in Britain (a pleasing relief from all those US Surveys). If we’re going to engage fully with the digital age and digital culture, it’s particularly important to understand how the Internet is being used within our culture, knowing when might be appropriate to use it, and where gaps still may be.
Key findings of the 2013 OxIS survey include the following:
- The use of the Internet is Britain has risen substantially over the last two years, reaching 78% of the population 14 years and over.
- There has been progress on narrowing digital divides with a rise in Internet access for lower income groups, people with no formal educational qualifications, retired people, and individuals with disabilities.
- The beliefs and attitudes of Internet users are diverse, reflecting five broad cultures, the largest of which, the “cyber-moderates”, have more tempered views about the value and risks of Internet use than most other groups of users.
- The rise of next generation users, who use multiple devices, one or more of which are mobile, has grown to represent 67% of users.
- Patterns of use have not changed dramatically, but the diffusion of social networking has stabilised at a plateau of 61% of internet users.
- Use of digital government services has continued to progress, particularly around transactional services, such as renewal of automobile licences.
- Use of the Internet and social media tends to complement rather than substitute for traditional forms of communication, but is nevertheless tied to social changes, such as in meeting new people.
- The perceived benefits of Internet use accrue far more to the next generation users, creating a second digital divide beyond mere access to the Internet.
- A majority of users believe that the government should not regulate the Internet more than it does, but there is an increase in the proportion of the public that wants the government to do more to protect children online.
- Digital choice remains a key factor leading many non-users to remain offline, underscoring the value of support of non-users to experience the Internet.
Access the full PDF to read more about any of these findings in detail, but from the headline stats above, are there any there that particularly surprise you or encourage you?